Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Singing "Happy Birthday!" Song sparrow

Yesterday, March 22nd I photographed this Song sparrow nearly singing its head off. I think I heard it singing "Happy Birthday." It was David's birthday, so that would make sense. Our good friend, Ted was also celebrating his birthday. I happened to speak to Ted on the phone, otherwise, I would not have realized it was his birthday as well. When it came to light that the guys  shared a birthday, I was dumbfounded that I didn't already know this. After all, we are good friends with Ted and his wife and have been for years. The second I finished the phone conversation with our friend, I reached for a notebook in which I make note of birthdays, anniversaries and the like. I also keep the paper handouts distributed at funerals we attend.  Sometimes, I have it in my head that people are still alive when they are not, which can be socially a little dicey. This way, I can check. It's the kind of information that, once upon a time, people kept  in a family bible. I knew if I waited to enter this significant data that I would forget, so I did it immediately. And low and behold, I was stunned to find that I had put Ted's birthday in there some time before and even made note with a jolly exclamation point that the boy's shared the day! It unnerved me that, nonetheless, when I talked to Ted, I had no recollection of this at all. As if this wasn't bad enough, I discovered on the same day that for a year, I've been lying about my age. David is nine years, eleven months and two weeks older than I am. For the two weeks between our birthdays, I lord it over him that he is ten years, an entire decade, older than I am. This year, I couldn't make sense of this mathematically. The numbers didn't come out right when I subtracted 53 from 64 (which is eleven, in case you are looking for a pencil). I thought, "Oh my god! All this time he's really been eleven years older than I am for that two weeks!" How could it be that we've thought all along that he was nine years older than I am? I had this queasy feeling like I was experiencing a tear in the universe. Now, this had my full attention; I had to figure it out right then and there. I mumbled to myself, "If he was born in '46 and I was born in '55, then.........." And that's when the truth came crashing inward, like a meteor busting through the atmosphere and slamming into the earth's crust - in two weeks, I will be fifty five! For a year, I've been telling everyone that I'm fifty-three! It's not that I have been deliberately lying about my age. If I had been going to do that, I would have picked a good old block of time, at least five years, not one. How stupid is that? I have actually had it in my head somehow that I didn't age 365 days last year. Last night, I confessed this to David. It seemed only right since every year, I've given him a ration of crap, albeit good natured, about his being a decade older than I am. He told me he had known for quite some time that I was telling people I was fifty-three, not fifty-four. Shocked, I asked, "Why didn't you tell me?" He said he didn't think it was important. "What difference does it make? I didn't want to embarrass you. I love you no matter how old you are," he said.  I wondered, "Is this what happens to people when they are fifty-five?" The mind begins to go, one lapse at a time, and no one tells you. You keep records to remind yourself of things, but don't remember to look at the records. You make grocery lists, but forget to take them with you, lists of lists which you then can't find. You watch the same T.V. show several times because you don't remember that you've seen it until you're into the third commercial break. You spill food on your clothes and people let it go. And so it goes - you slip down the rope, one knot at a time, spelunking into the abyss of blankness. This scares the snot right out of me, I'm telling you. I've watched this happen to people I've known and loved. In fact, almost everyone I know has a family member that's struggling with this. My ninety-nine year old grandmother started out like that until today there's nothing left of her mind at all. She has to be fed because she can't cognitively connect the dots between hunger and getting  food to her mouth anymore. I'm not sure I really want to know if this is what's happening to my brain. Or, I'll just keep getting younger every year, as I've been claiming, so I won't be effected. I've read that there is virtually no dementia in Liechtenstein or Macau, so maybe I'll just move, if only I can find my keys.......

"Happy birthday to you,"
"Happy birthday to you!"
"You look like a monkey,
"And you smell like one, toooooooo!"

Dementia Darling
"Where are my keys,"
You asked of me
Once, twice, three.
Weary, I repeated
"Wherever you left,"
What happened to you?
Trying to get home,
You lost your way.
Button your shirt,
Zip your fly,
On your chin- breakfast dirt.
You've become
Someone unknown.
I saw your look,
When you lost my name,
I hoped it was a game.
You're not pretending
As you're slipping
Each day toward the ending.
We are both so angry
You with disconnected rages,
The doctors say
just one of the phases.

                                                                                      Robin Riley Robinson

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  1. Awesome and funny blog! so love it .You just got too much on your mind. Rita

  2. Hmmmmmm! David can outrun you any day my dear! So there you have it, see you can be smart “WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT”! Hehehehe!

    Tom Robinson

  3. YOu are so funny..! yes well all do forget how old we are at one time or another. yes we all make a list .. so we don't forget the important things in life. Who every said they don't are lieing !
    and yes our husbands are priseless, loving us no mattar how young or old we are.!
    Betty bB

  4. haha....hysterical. When I read this I laughed, "It unnerved me that, nonetheless, when I talked to Ted, I had no recollection of this at all." That is happening to me a lot lately, but I have to admit, I still know my age! (but I can see 50 up ahead, so I guess I better get ready for that next stage...)

  5. I've been enjoying your posts so much I got to wondering if you might
    > >>>like a copy of the mother of all bird books, The Bird, by a Brit named
    > >>>Colin Tudge. It has waaaaay more than you'd ever want to know about the
    > >>>history of birds, but also tons of interesting stuff, and the man writes
    > >>>with an excellent touch and sense of humor, and is incredibly
    > >>>knowledgeable.

  6. Such a beauty! How do you do that? My personal song sparrow is back, delighting my heart. He likes the top of the pear tree or top of whatever bush is nearest his latest morsel of food. As to the growing older--the upcoming 80 is hard to ignore. My lapses of one sort or another keep accumulating. It is good growing older WITH someone.

  7. You never fail to bring a smile to my face, and I needed it! Thank you! I spent most of the day writing my obituary and eulogy for an assignment in my developmental psychology class. While I watch my step for the next few days and making sure I didn't jinx myself, I can always visit your site for a good laugh.

    Love the pic of the singing Song Sparrow!

  8. The "Canoe Man" and his devoted dog...it would have to be to get into a canoe with this guy. "Canoe Man" must have seen a young chick across the way dressed in her bathrobe and he was out of his mind. Lucky for you he didn't make it! One needs to maintain a sense of humor, especially as we get older. If you lose anything in time let's hope it is NOT your sense of humor!
    "Happy Birthday!"